This week I have been working on ensuring work-life balance in my everyday life! I have been feeling consistently torn between what I want to do and what I have to do. Therefore this week’s challenge is to practice self-care, spend time with people I love, and work towards my goals.
To help obtain this goal I have thought about what work-life balance means. There was lots of googling and reading involved. And so, I have written this post to discuss all of the best practices to help myself and my audience obtain this concept of work-life balance.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I might receive compensation at not cost to you if you buy from one of the links.
Work-life balance what is it
To have a work-life balance you have to be able to prioritize both personal and work obligations. Work-life balance for me looks like having a balance of obligations between what I want to do and what I have to do. For instance, I want to have more time for friends, working out, crocheting, rock climbing, and reading.
This article has a more in depth definition of work-life balance. Check it out!
There are many symptoms of having a poor work-life balance. You may experience stress, work resentment, fatigue, excessive procrastination, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and burnout.
There are many positive results of having a work-life balance. You will experience content, hopefulness, motivation, and creativity.
I used to be a person that thought work was everything. If you were not working or being productive it was a waste of time.
Since that time I have read books like the 4-Hour-Work-Week. And so, I have learned the value of working harder but smarter. If you are interested in this book, click on the link below!
Tips to create more work-life balance
1. Time management
Time management does not mean cramming in work every second of the day. And the best way to manage your time is to plan it!
Start each day by defining what you want to accomplish for that day. Stick to it!
I keep a note pad listing self-care and work tasks separately. Today I have under self-care therapy appointment, cook dinner, shower, clean fridge, and attend boot camp class. Under ‘work’, I have written a blog post, watch a video about changing website themes, fix blog past blog posts, and learn about using Instagram to get website traffic.
This week I am on break. And so I do not have my usual work tasks. Next week my tasks will be a combination of self-care, work, and blog tasks.
2. Choosing the right goals
Choosing the right goals will help you feel fulfilled and well balanced. When choosing goals make sure to choose goals that lead to positive emotions. Feeling empowered and interested will make your goals seem a lot easier to manage. You will most likely be consistent working towards goals you are interested in.
Therefore you should consider focusing on goals that you are interested in. This will create flow while working.
Flow is the state in which you forget that you are working and staying engaged in a task without much effort. Here you can learn more about creating and maintaining flow.
Pick a goal that helps you pass time effortlessly. Otherwise, the goal you are working will be perceived as boring or stressful. And it will be harder to achieve.
Additionally, pick a goal that matches your current skillset. A goal that matches some of your current skills will feel painless.
Lastly, chose goals that match your most important values. Thus creating a sense of purpose and meaning. Knowing the meaning of goals can help many people stay on track and complete goals even when it is hard. This can be the greater good of society. Find more about how to live a life of purpose here.
3. Saying no
You can say no. Please start saying no. This will help you create a life you want to live. Unfortunately, many people often feel obligated to do too much. Leading to them feeling overwhelmed.
When you are invited somewhere, you can politely decline the invitation; if you are uninterested in going. Do not feel obligated to attend events. Leave the party when you are ready. Tell someone you do not like doing the thing they suggested.
Everyone deserves to make less time for the things they do not wish to do. And, people deserve to make more time for what they want to do.
Chores can also be told, no. Such as saying “no” to the dishes, grocery shopping, and cleaning. When you tell chores no do so consciously.
For example, you can write down a ‘not-to-do’ today list. I call this the do another day list.
4. Saying yes
Alternatively, saying “yes” to things you want to do can give you more work-life balance. Prioritizing only work can make us miss out on good experiences, time with friends, and hobbies.
In the past, I have decided to choose work over having a social life. And this is why I decided to make time for more of the things I want to do, this week.
Imagine, your friend has asked you on a mini weekend getaway. Your initial response is “oh my god that sounds awesome”. But then you think, “I have XYZ to do”. Your boss will not care if you take the day off. But you do not go with your friend anyway.
Work cannot always be more important than our experiences. This will suck all of the joy out of life. Years ago when I was just a babe, I used to work 80 hours a week, and attend grad school classes. I was beyond burned out and had no time to really enjoy myself. Don’t be like me! Make time for all of the important things.
5. Take time for your self
Similar to saying yes, you should also take time for yourself. This can look like going on vacation.
Time for myself is reading a good fantasy book, therapy, cooking a new delicious dish, spending time in nature, or participating in a yoga class. This is my time to slow down.
6. Making time to spend with friends/ family
Contrary to what many introverts believe, you are not a solitary creature. You need human connection. Not all people suck. Although some do, for sure. You just need to avoid those creatures.
However, many of us have learned to fear connection due to our experiences. Thus, we might avoid that party we were invited to.
Admittedly, I am guilty of avoiding people. However, avoiding people is not the answer.
Challenge: make 2 simple plans a week with people who make you feel good. This could be a roommate, a partner, a good friend, a family member, or make a new friend on Bumble BFF. I will be taking this challenge over the next 3 months.
7. Set a time to stop work or leave work on time
Here, is where I struggle. I am completely guilty of staying to work an extra 3 hours I procrastinated for 5 hours and this is my punishment.
If you have a hard time leaving work it is in your best interest to make reasons to leave work. To leave on time you can schedule a fitness class, see a friend, or simply decide a time to leave. Also, giving yourself time off can help you feel more motivated to work the next day.
The challenge: Decide a time you want to leave for the day. Set a timer 20 minutes before. During the last 30 minutes wrap up any tasks you are working on and plan your task list for the next day. In the morning get to work on your hardest task immediately for 30 minutes. Lastly, notice how you feel each day.
8. Schedule time
Unfortunately, it is easy to get caught up and push off our own needs. Besides the constant pressure to outperform, we also have high expectations of ourselves.
Therefore, you must schedule some time for yourself. If your goal is to work out consistently you will need to start by carving out time in your schedule. If your goal is to eat healthy foods and save money, then you will have to schedule time to go to the store, meal plan, and cook. You will have to make time for these goals. And the best time to make time is to schedule.
Focus is easy if you enjoy what you are doing. I like personal professional development. So while I may have done the Pomodoro technique. Often I skipped breaks because I was still doing a task and did not want to stop. I was in the flow and extended focus on the task at hand “write a 2000 word blog post about creating an epic to-do list. I got more done than I may have.
Above I wrote about how to best find your flow. However, recognizing it might take practice. For me, flow is feeling content while working. I recognize it when I am not desperately waiting for my break.
10. Stop multi-tasking
Multi-tasking is not making you a time management god. Stop doing it. Additionally, multitasking can hinder your ability to focus. Constantly multitasking will disrupt your ability to obtain flow.
Challenge: Spend 90 minutes doing one thing. You can take Pomodoro breaks. However, do not work on another task, check your email, or help your colleagues. Stay focused on one thing. After, notice how much you got done and what distracted you.
11. Deciding what to do
Repeat after me: “I CANNOT DO EVERYTHING”. Now repeat that, again! Now, keep saying this over and over.
You must decide both what not to do and what to do. And you will do a lot more if you decide what is important to do.
Decide what in your life is the most important and do those things first. This is how you prioritize.
Prioritize based on categories such as monetary gain, long term goals, and values.
12. Scheduling breaks
Lastly as discussed in prior articles you should schedule breaks. I use the Pomodoro method for my breaks. I may not always take a break. However, using the Pomodoro method gives me a chance to take a break if I need one.
Breaks are so necessary and important for your well-being. They can provide time for a scheduled social media time, taking care of chores, eating a meal, rewarding ourselves, and doing a small work out. Additionally, breaks help your brain reset and feel refreshed.
Today, I took a break to take a shower which marked it off my to-do list.
Tools to manage
Begin with a weekly schedule on an excel file. Mark your waking hours down the left side of the grid. Next, enter all of the time you know you are obligated for the week. I printed this out and did it by hand. This will show you exactly what free time you have at your disposal. Here you have two options you can start adding obligations or you can add what you did as it happens throughout the week.
You can use any planner you wish. However, I love my passion planner for many reasons. One reason being the planner has helped me redirect my life all of 2020. This year I have been able to focus on my goals despite all that has happened. The planner is definitely worth buying.
This year I purchased a smaller passion planner on accident. But I am fairly certain it will serve me just as well!
First, I created a simple two circle ven diagram. One circle is labeled want-to-do the other was labeled must-do. With a section for overlap.
In want-to-do, I have: to build a snowman and build an igloo. In must-do I have: sign up for affiliate programs, write a blog post, post blog post, post to social media, add sharing buttons to the website page, create landing pages, and add a cookie banner. The center consists of cook dinner and read for the challenge.
Do this yourself. First I would start by creating a long list of large main goals. For instance, if you want to learn how to play the Piano do it. Write these big picture goals down. Now think about the first thing you must do for each goal. If it’s researching how to learn how to play the piano, then place this task in the Venn diagram where it belongs.
I have bullet journaled a lot. The space is versatile. However, many people love it for the creative outlet. A bullet journal can be a great place to take notes, write down thoughts, journal, and create your task lists. The possibilities are endless with a bullet journal.
The purpose of bullet journaling is to clear your mind and help it run more effectively. I just downloaded the bullet journal method today. And I look forward to learning more about how to bullet journal effectively. Below I included a link to the book and two other journals I thought were pretty beautiful.
Create a list of rewards and self-care
Create a list of rewards and self-care activities. Then you do not have to think about what you will do for your self-care activity during your breaks at work. A list of potential possibilities will already be at your fingertips.
In this article, I have given you a few challenges to ensure you have more work-life balance. Try a few out this week! I cannot wait to write about how they went for me this week.
Make sure to leave a comment discussing the challenges you took on this week. Let me know how they went. As always I would love to hear from you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
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